Click to view this email in a browser

Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev & Chairman Stanley P. Gold

A message from Hiddush

Dec. 21, 2017
3 Tevet, 5778

Dear Friends,

With the end of the year approaching, we turn to you with a request to support the work of Hiddush and generously donate to us to enable us to expand and strengthen our advocacy work to promote freedom of religion and equality for all.

It is no secret that the political reality in Israel in the field of religion and state is bleak, and in recent times it has also been accompanied by growing disdain of governing political circles and their affronts against Diaspora Jewry in general and American Jewry in particular.

The Israeli government not only perpetuates violations of the values ??that are close to the heart of the overwhelming majority of pluralistic Jewish communities, but indeed does great damage to Jewish unity and solidarity and peoplehood. The Government is first in service to the narrow political interests of the religious parties. It is has no compunctions against selling off the principles of freedom of religion and equality to the ultra-Orthodox parties, who reject the principles of democracy and aspire for a theocratic Torah state.

Hiddush is at the forefront of the struggle to strengthen Israel and promote the fundamental values ??it has championed, i.e., freedom of religion and conscience; and equality, regardless of religion.

We do this in multiple ways.

This week, for instance, we achieved another victory in dealing with the desire of politicians to refrain from implementing the law regarding coed service in the military and their willingness to ignore mass fraud and to accept affidavits from young women falsely claiming religious lifestyles that prevent them from serving in the army.

Only Hiddush's petition to the High Court has forced them to take the legally required steps to implement the law passed by the Knesset six years ago, which have been utterly ignored throughout the turbulence of Israeli politics. We have also score victories to ensure equitable female representation on Israel's religious councils, after decades of gross inequality, and forced a change to the rules of the military in such a way as to allow for non-Orthodox military burials for the first time. These are just examples of Hiddush's increasing legal advocacy, which is intended to advance these principles despite the political reality, in which it is impossible to rely on Israel's politicians to do the right thing.

As you know, Hiddush also holds a mirror up to the politicians (who, not surprisingly, falsely accuse the Supreme Court, the non-Orthodox streams, and Diaspora Jewry), with our periodic, systematic public opinion polling on issues of religion and state, which illustrates time and time again how detached the politicians are from the public's will on all of these matters.

Our work is also essential for clarifying the true reality of these issues to the Jewish leadership in the Diaspora, given that Israel's official representatives are often sanctimonious and claim that they are the genuine, authentic representatives of the will of the Israeli people. Every day, Hiddush continues its work (in close cooperation with like-minded organizations in civil society in Israel and the Diaspora) to contribute to the expansion of public and media discourse on issues of religion and state, build bridges between diverse groups in the religious and political worlds, and strengthen Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of friends like you.


Stanley P. Gold,
Hiddush Chair

Rabbi Uri Regev,
Hiddush President


Dear Friends,

Following Hannukah, the festival celebrating religious freedom, let us remember that of all places in the world - the battle for religious freedom and equality for Jews in Israel is not yet over!

Make your end-of-year contribution to Hiddush, to participate in this critical battle, and help us fight for these core values in the coming year.

donate to Hiddush

Hiddush bringing an end to mass fraudulent
exemptions from IDF service

Six years after the enactment of an amendment to the Security Service Law to establish a process for revoking thousands of women's exemptions for falsely claiming to having religious lifestyles that conflict with IDF service, the law has remained a dead letter. The prerequisite regulations have not been enacted, and the amendment could not be implemented.

Hiddush stepped in with its petition to the High Court after not receiving satisfactory answers from the Knesset and the Defense Minister. Only then, with the threat of imminent Court action, the authorities finally turned around and took the necessary initial steps to put an end to this travesty. Just a few days before this week's scheduled Court hearing, has the Defense Minister submitted the long overdue draft regulations, has the Knesset appointed the required ad hoc committee to approve them, and has a date been scheduled for the deliberations on January 2. Now it remains to be seen how long it will take for the draft regulations to be approved, or whether the ultra-Orthodox political parties and the Chief Rabbinate will interfere to prevent this, given their overriding objection to women's military service.

In the hearing this week, the State, without bothering to apologize for the multi-year delay, attempted to squash the petition, stating that now that the draft regulations have been submitted, the committee appointed, and the hearing scheduled, that the petition has exhausted itself and should be withdrawn. Needless to say, Hiddush objected to this self-serving position; and the Court concurred, requiring that the State report within 60 days as to the progress made, at which point the Court will consider the need for subsequent action. This made it clear that regardless of the possible need for further action, costs would be awarded against the State, in favor of Hiddush.


The "Who is a Jew" battle
is going to erupt again.

The question now is how soon is the Who-is-a-Jew battle going to be reignited, following a report that the State is attempting to gain more time by asking the Supreme Court to continue the freeze on all the pending Who-is-a-Jew cases. The State will claim that more time is needed for the committee, headed by Moshe Nissim, who was appointed by the Prime Minister to supposedly reach a mutually agreed upon solution to this age old conflict.

Back in June 2017 the governmental legislative committee approved the legislation of the conversion bill dictated to the Government Coalition by the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic Shas party and its head Arye Deri (Israel's Minister of the Interior who is in charge of registration of Jewish status and the granting of rights under the Law of Return). At the time, it was part of a larger package extorted by the ultra-orthodox parties that included the suspension of the Kotel agreement. This brought about expressions of great anger on the part of Jewish global leadership.

At the time - in June - Netanyahu, acting as a sophisticated and experienced "fire fighter," was focused primarily on damage control and lowering the flames.

Will the non-Orthodox movements agree to further postponement? Isn't it time to recognize that the committee process is futile and aimed only delay tactics? Will the movements and Diaspora leadership surrender to the Prime Minister's wise political maneuvers, aimed at separating the contentious issues and addressing them piecemeal, rather than allowing their full impact to be aired out and resolved?

We believe that the time has come for a showdown. We believe the time has come to focus on the essence of the challenge - not merely on its symptoms. It's important to follow an approach counter to that of the Prime Minister. For too long, we have gone along with separating the issues that are truly connected at the core. Thereby, we have limited their significances and real weights. It's time to review this strategy and realize the following:

1) The need to seek a holistic, inclusive, and systemic resolution of oft-repeating clashes over issues of religion and state. This is the path Uri Regev, Hiddush's head, has taken in collaboration with leading Modern Orthodox rabbi Marc Angel in developing the Vision Statement for a Jewish and democratic Israel.

2) In pursuing this path, we should fully appreciate the fact that we are resonating to the will and the desire of the overwhelming majority of both Israeli and Diaspora Jewry, as well as breathing life into Israel's own founding promise. The only ones opposed are either those who are motivated by a theocratic ideology, wanting Israel to become a Torah state, or those politicians who are willing to sell off both human dignity and civil liberties in return for political pittance.



Support Hiddush

donate Icon
Donate to
volunteer Icon
Volunteer to
tell your story Icon
Share your
facebook icon
Join Hiddush
on Facebook
blog Icon
Start your
Hiddush Blog

Hiddush - Freedom of Religion for Israel, Inc.
Website:  |  Email:  |  182 East 95th St. Suite 24G, New York, NY 10128  |  Office: 646-334-5636

Sign the Vision!

Click to view this email in a browser

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: Unsubscribe

Freedom of Religion for Israel
182 East 95th St., Suite 24G
New York, New York 10128

Read the VerticalResponse marketing policy.

Non-Profits Email Free with VerticalResponse!